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What is the scientific method? – Crash Course Biology

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Science is a twisty-turny process of investigation that accepts or rejects ideas based on evidence. New evidence can revise what we know, and it’s a team effort. When scientists around the world or in different fields of study are able to collaborate on what they’ve observed and learned, their discoveries can make leaps and bounds beyond where they started.

And everyone is building on layers of hypotheses, ideas that are tested with evidence. “It’s basically a big group chat, spanning centuries,” describes Dr. Samuel Ramsey:

“The word ‘scientist’ has only existed in English since the nineteenth century, but people from every corner of the globe have been figuring stuff out by observing the physical world for a long time.”

Indigenous knowledge

“For example, records of medicine and natural history date back hundreds and even thousands of years in ancient India, Greece, and China. Centuries ago, Maya astronomers precisely tracked the movements of the sun, moon, and planetsβ€”leaving behind calendars still used by their descendants today. And Indigenous cultures worldwide have developed rich understandings of the natural world through close observation.

“As a process of discovery and knowing, science has been formalized with the scientific method.”

testing a hypothesis
Ramsey, aka Dr. Sammy, walks us through these six steps and explains how they get repeated and rearranged.

He also defines key vocabulary wordsβ€”hypothesis, peer review, scientific theories, scientific laws, data literacy, and scientific modelsβ€”in The Scientific Method, the second episode of Crash Course Biology, produced in collaboration with HHMI Biointeractive.

Steps of the Scientific Method

TEACHING RESOURCES
β€’Β The Scientific Method, a Khan Academy summary.
β€’Β The Scientific Method in Everyday Life, a K-8 lesson plan from Flocabulary.
β€’Β How Science Works, resources for grades 6-12 + college at HHMI Biointeractive.

Watch these related videos next:
β€’Β What is Life? Dr. Samuel Ramsey explains with Crash Course Biology
β€’Β The Scientific Method, animated
β€’ What does the word ‘theory’ mean in science?
β€’Β What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process – Crash Course Kids

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